Monday, August 10, 2009

The Tories shouldn't play party politics with peerage laws

I see this morning there is another story in the Telegraph about plans for constitutional change that could allow Peter Mandelson to get himself back in the Commons and then be in a position which would allow him to lead the Labour Party.

Interestingly, this time the story is about how the Tories plan to block the Constitutional Renewal Bill which would allow life peers to resign their seat in the House of Lords. The thing is, I'm not quite sure why they would really want to block such a change.

In principle, surely, it makes sense to have the equivalent of the Peerage Act 1963 for life peers? If someone is given a place in the legislature in order to bring them into a Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet type role, shouldn't they be able to leave that body if they wish to do so?

More so, wouldn't it address the democratic deficit that we currently have with the concept of patronage and life peerages? Take Alan "I'm a precious little flower" Sugar, he has been brought in the Lords in order to do a specific Government job (allegedly). So, when he stops doing that job why, pray tell, should he have a vote upon our laws for the rest of his life?

I'm not quite sure what the Tories fear about Peter Mandelson in the Commons rather than the Lords. I realise there is talk of a possible leadership bid, but let's be serious for a moment, Mandelson is known to be a decisive love/hate figure in his own party, if he did throw his hat in the ring it would probably become quite nasty the splits within Labour would be available for all to see.

Over its time in office, Labour have brought untold number of silly laws which it ought not to have, but for once, a law that allows for non-heridetary peers to quit their seats in the second chamber is surely one of the good and more sensible ones and shouldn't be blocked? If the Tories play party politics with it would be silly.

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